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Wireless groups win top awards at international competition


BLACKSBURG, Va., Dec. 5, 2007 – Graduate students from Virginia Tech's Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering took top honors during the 2007 Software Defined Radio Forum conference held in Denver, Colo., in November.

Teams representing the university’s Center for Wireless Telecommunications and Mobile and Portable Radio Research Group participated in the inaugural Smart Radio Challenge, an international engineering competition.

Virginia Tech was the only school with two teams among the final 10 competitors in the challenge. Other teams came from schools in France, Malaysia, and Sweden, as well as the United States. Each team had to design, develop, and test a software defined radio (SDR) in a way that would solve one of three specific problems.

The Virginia Tech Center for Wireless Telecommunications team won the competition’s grand prize by developing a software defined radio capable of finding available spectrum within a pre-defined band, rendezvousing with an intended receiver, and transmitting data with a pre-determined quality of service in urban conditions. The team of eight graduate students was awarded cash prizes totaling $6,000.

The nine graduate students on the Virginia Tech Mobile and Portable Radio Research Group team won the Smart Radio Challenge award for best SDR design.

“Virginia Tech has a long tradition of excellence in wireless, and these young men and women are very much in that mold,” said Charles Bostian, Alumni Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and faculty adviser for the wireless telecommunications team. “We graduate innovative engineers who can design and build real radios.”

Software defined radio devices use software rather than traditional dedicated hardware to define and modify the way they perform signal processing for transmission and reception. This technology is used in two-way communications devices by tactical military forces and emergency responders, as well as in the development of wireless networks that provide Internet services to rural areas.

The Virginia Tech Center for Wireless Telecommunications has been selected by the Software Defined Radio Forum to send a team to the 2008 competition.

Both teams are affiliate organizations of Wireless @ Virginia Tech, which is one of the largest university wireless technology research groups in the nation.

The Software Defined Radio Forum, a nonprofit international industry association dedicated to the development and deployment of SDR systems, has about 100 member organizations worldwide.

Written by Judy Hood.